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Women in Medicine…

DR BOIMA

HEALTH ISSUES

OK, I will admit it. I am a Doctor
“I work at a hospital.”

These words have left my mouth several times before, though reluctantly. If I am having a conversation with someone I have just met and the inevitable question, “So, what do you do?” is asked; like I just remembered, I would say the thing many of ‘us’ say: “Oh, I work at X hospital.”


It is true; I do work in a hospital. But that is not what I really do. What I do is take care of the sick and sometimes the dying, as a medical doctor. I hardly know what a holiday is, I work long nights, busy weekends, and even busier weekdays taking care of sick people: making them well, helping them hope, thinking and rethinking their care so that we get the best outcome. And here is the secret: I love it. I love what I do.  Given a chance I will choose it all over again!


Most days, no matter how crazy, I stop to think: “I am so, so lucky to do this job. And I am proud. I am proud of the almost-a-decade of years (and upcoming ones) that I spent learning to be someone whom people entrust with their lives. I am proud of all the nights I spent studying when peers were out having fun. I am proud of the exams that I quietly aced, not saying anything when my male medical school friends bragged about their scores (not quite as good as mine, sometimes). I am proud of the years I sacrificed my personal well-being so I could make sure that every patient I am seeing today gets the very, very best of me. So why don’t I say any of this? Why don’t I say the one, tiny little phrase that I shouldn’t even be thinking twice about?”


There are a thousand moments in life that condition women to minimize their accomplishments, especially in our continent. I see it every day. From high school, girls start downplaying their intelligence, not because they want to but because they are forced to, we get teased for being ‘di crack’ or simply labeled ‘nerdy’. I had a fair share of that! Girls withdraw from ‘so called male dominated subjects and activities’ that they enjoy, and exhibit lower self-esteem compared to their male counterparts. We know from experience and research that men tend to credit their own skills and smarts for their success while women credit external factors. “So many people helped me along the way,” we would say, or “I got really lucky.”

 

This isn’t all bad. In addition to being proud of my IQ, I wholeheartedly embrace the fact that I have gratitude for my amazing tribe of family and friends that contribute so much to my successes as a human. And I do feel lucky. The reality is that I was born in a family of people who believed in me. I started my primary school at a very young age not because my mom wanted to dump me at school but because she so much believed in my capabilities. Growing up, it literally never occurred to me that I could not be or do anything I wanted to. My family set the foundation for me to become who I am today, but I did the work to get there.


We have come so far in medicine from generations before us. The number of women choosing medicine as a career continues to grow. One study reported that in 2000, women in medicine comprised about a third of the physician population while almost half of the students in medical schools were females. Women are reshaping the way medicine is practiced. The same study reported that women physicians generally report being satisfied with their career though they admitted to experiencing additional stressors on top of the stressors that their male colleagues also face.


I am paid the same amount of salary as my male colleagues. And yet, it is still different, and sometimes a lot harder, to be a woman in medicine. Apart from the predisposition to inappropriate sexual comments or behaviour, verbal abuse and physical assault from our male patients and lack of support and criticism from male colleagues during times of pregnancy, maternity leaves etc.; there isn’t a day that goes by that someone at work does not make a demeaning remark regarding our position.

 

Many other female doctors will attest to this. Patients find it fit to call us nurses, even when we are wearing long white coats, with a stethoscope hanging around our neck and we have just introduced ourselves as “Dr. so and so”. Just recently one of my colleagues took to her facebook page, about a patient who insisted she was not the doctor but “the doctor’s secretary” because she was a woman. It makes me furious, and sad. But on this day, as I remember my regular answer, “I work at a hospital”, it suddenly and maddeningly dawned on me: I am doing the same thing to myself that I cringe when other people do to me, or to any of us. I am downplaying my accomplishments maybe because I am a woman. I do not want to do it anymore.

So, I will admit it: I am a doctor! And I am really damn good at it!!

This article is dedicated to all aspiring young girls who wish to join this humble profession of ours; Know that you can be anything you want, and you can actually be better at it!


For questions regarding pursuing a career in medicine please email agboima@yahoo.com

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Export Processing Zones: How to Get SEZA to Sizzle

23rd September 2020
Export Processing Zone (EPZ) factory in Kenya

In 2005, the Business & Economic Advisory Council (BEAC) pitched the idea of the establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to the Mogae Administration.

It took five years before the SEZ policy was formulated, another five years before the relevant law was enacted, and a full three years before the Special Economic Zones Authority (SEZA) became operational.

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Egypt Bagged Again

23rd September 2020
Samson

… courtesy of infiltration stratagem by Jehovah-Enlil’s clan

With the passing of Joshua’s generation, General Atiku, the promised peace and prosperity of a land flowing with milk and honey disappeared, giving way to chaos and confusion.

Maybe Joshua himself was to blame for this shambolic state of affairs. He had failed to mentor a successor in the manner Moses had mentored him. He had left the nation without a central government or a human head of state but as a confederacy of twelve independent tribes without any unifying force except their Anunnaki gods.

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‘RO, ‘RO ‘RO YOUR ‘BOT

23rd September 2020

If I say the word ‘robot’ to you,  I can guess what would immediately spring to mind –  a cute little Android or animal-like creature with human or pet animal characteristics and a ‘heart’, that is to say to say a battery, of gold, the sort we’ve all seen in various movies and  tv shows.  Think R2D2 or 3CPO in Star Wars, Wall-E in the movie of the same name,  Sonny in I Robot, loveable rogue Bender in Futurama,  Johnny 5 in Short Circuit…

Of course there are the evil ones too, the sort that want to rise up and eliminate us  inferior humans – Roy Batty in Blade Runner, Schwarzenegger’s T-800 in The Terminator,  Box in Logan’s Run,  Police robots in Elysium and  Otomo in Robocop.

And that’s to name but a few.  As a general rule of thumb, the closer the robot is to human form, the more dangerous it is and of course the ultimate threat in any Sci-Fi movie is that the robots will turn the tables and become the masters, not the mechanical slaves.  And whilst we are in reality a long way from robotic domination, there are an increasing number of examples of  robotics in the workplace.

ROBOT BLOODHOUNDS Sometimes by the time that one of us smells something the damage has already begun – the smell of burning rubber or even worse, the smell of deadly gas. Thank goodness for a robot capable of quickly detecting and analyzing a smell from our very own footprint.

A*Library Bot The A*Star (Singapore) developed library bot which when books are equipped with RFID location chips, can scan shelves quickly seeking out-of-place titles.  It manoeuvres with ease around corners, enhances the sorting and searching of books, and can self-navigate the library facility during non-open hours.

DRUG-COMPOUNDING ROBOT Automated medicine distribution system, connected to the hospital prescription system. It’s goal? To manipulate a large variety of objects (i.e.: drug vials, syringes, and IV bags) normally used in the manual process of drugs compounding to facilitate stronger standardisation, create higher levels of patient safety, and lower the risk of hospital staff exposed to toxic substances.

AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY ROBOTS Applications include screw-driving, assembling, painting, trimming/cutting, pouring hazardous substances, labelling, welding, handling, quality control applications as well as tasks that require extreme precision,

AGRICULTURAL ROBOTS Ecrobotix, a Swiss technology firm has a solar-controlled ‘bot that not only can identify weeds but thereafter can treat them. Naio Technologies based in southwestern France has developed a robot with the ability to weed, hoe, and assist during harvesting. Energid Technologies has developed a citrus picking system that retrieves one piece of fruit every 2-3 seconds and Spain-based Agrobot has taken the treachery out of strawberry picking. Meanwhile, Blue River Technology has developed the LettuceBot2 that attaches itself to a tractor to thin out lettuce fields as well as prevent herbicide-resistant weeds. And that’s only scratching the finely-tilled soil.

INDUSTRIAL FLOOR SCRUBBERS The Global Automatic Floor Scrubber Machine boasts a 1.6HP motor that offers 113″ water lift, 180 RPM and a coverage rate of 17,000 sq. ft. per hour

These examples all come from the aptly-named site www.willrobotstakemyjob.com    because while these functions are labour-saving and ripe for automation, the increasing use of artificial intelligence in the workplace will undoubtedly lead to increasing reliance on machines and a resulting swathe of human redundancies in a broad spectrum of industries and services.

This process has been greatly boosted by the global pandemic due to a combination of a workforce on furlough, whether by decree or by choice, and the obvious advantages of using virus-free machines – I don’t think computer viruses count!  For example, it was suggested recently that their use might have a beneficial effect in care homes for the elderly, solving short staffing issues and cheering up the old folks with the novelty of having their tea, coffee and medicines delivered by glorified model cars.  It’s a theory, at any rate.

Already, customers at the South-Korean  fast-food chain No Brand Burger can avoid any interaction with a human server during the pandemic.  The chain is using robots to take orders, prepare food and bring meals out to diners.  Customers order and pay via touchscreen, then their request is sent to the kitchen where a cooking machine heats up the buns and patties. When it’s ready, a robot ‘waiter’ brings out their takeout bag.   

‘This is the first time I’ve actually seen such robots, so they are really amazing and fun,’ Shin Hyun Soo, an office worker at No Brand in Seoul for the first time, told the AP. 

Human workers add toppings to the burgers and wrap them up in takeout bags before passing them over to yellow-and-black serving robots, which have been compared to Minions. 

Also in Korea, the Italian restaurant chain Mad for Garlic is using serving robots even for sit-down customers. Using 3D space mapping and other technology, the electronic ‘waiter,’ known as Aglio Kim, navigates between tables with up to five orders.  Mad for Garlic manager Lee Young-ho said kids especially like the robots, which can carry up to 66lbs in their trays.

These catering robots look nothing like their human counterparts – in fact they are nothing more than glorified food trolleys so using our thumb rule from the movies, mankind is safe from imminent takeover but clearly  Korean hospitality sector workers’ jobs are not.

And right there is the dichotomy – replacement by stealth.  Remote-controlled robotic waiters and waitresses don’t need to be paid, they don’t go on strike and they don’t spread disease so it’s a sure bet their army is already on the march.

But there may be more redundancies on the way as well.  Have you noticed how AI designers have an inability to use words of more than one syllable?  So ‘robot’ has become ‘bot’ and ‘android’ simply ‘droid?  Well, guys, if you continue to build machines ultimately smarter than yourselves you ‘rons  may find yourself surplus to requirements too – that’s ‘moron’ to us polysyllabic humans”!

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